Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK I CHAPTER VI

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How King Arthur pulled out the sword divers times.

Now assay, said Sir Ector unto Sir Kay.  And anon he pulled at
the sword with all his might; but it would not be.  Now shall ye
assay, said Sir Ector to Arthur.  I will well, said Arthur, and
pulled it out easily.  And therewithal Sir Ector knelt down to
the earth, and Sir Kay.  Alas, said Arthur, my own dear father
and brother, why kneel ye to me?  Nay, nay, my lord Arthur, it is
not so; I was never your father nor of your blood, but I wot well
ye are of an higher blood than I weened ye were.  And then Sir
Ector told him all, how he was betaken him for to nourish him,
and by whose commandment, and by Merlin's deliverance.

Then Arthur made great dole when he understood that Sir Ector was
not his father.  Sir, said Ector unto Arthur, will ye be my good
and gracious lord when ye are king?  Else were I to blame, said
Arthur, for ye are the man in the world that I am most beholden
to, and my good lady and mother your wife, that as well as her
own hath fostered me and kept.  And if ever it be God's will that
I be king as ye say, ye shall desire of me what I may do, and I
shall not fail you; God forbid I should fail you Sir, said Sir
Ector, I will ask no more of you, but that ye will make my son,
your foster brother, Sir Kay, seneschal of all your lands.  That
shall be done, said Arthur, and more, by the faith of my body,
that never man shall have that office but he, while he and I live
Therewithal they went unto the Archbishop, and told him how the
sword was achieved, and by whom; and on Twelfth-day all the
barons came thither, and to assay to take the sword, who that
would assay.  But there afore them all, there might none take it
out but Arthur; wherefore there were many lords wroth, and said
it was great shame unto them all and the realm, to be
overgoverned with a boy of no high blood born.  And so they fell
out at that time that it was put off till Candlemas and then all
the barons should meet there again; but always the ten knights
were ordained to watch the sword day and night, and so they set a
pavilion over the stone and the sword, and five always watched. 
So at Candlemas many more great lords came thither for to have
won the sword, but there might none prevail.  And right as Arthur
did at Christmas, he did at Candlemas, and pulled out the sword
easily, whereof the barons were sore aggrieved and put it off in
delay till the high feast of Easter.  And as Arthur sped before,
so did he at Easter; yet there were some of the great lords had
indignation that Arthur should be king, and put it off in a delay
till the feast of Pentecost.

Then the Archbishop of Canterbury by Merlin's providence let
purvey then of the best knights that they might get, and such
knights as Uther Pendragon loved best <11 CH. VII  HOW KING
ARTHUR WAS CROWNED>and most trusted in his days.  And such
knights were put about Arthur as Sir Baudwin of Britain, Sir Kay,
Sir Ulfius, Sir Brastias.  All these, with many other, were
always about Arthur, day and night, till the feast of Pentecost.